Week 45 – Tarte Aux Fruits and Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce

Sorry for being MIA, everyone!  Studying and class are kind of taking over my life right now,  The CFP exam is officially less than 2 months away (July 30) and I’m starting to freak out a bit, which leads to studying in allllll of my spare time (which feels like it’s evaporating…)  We had a pretty great Memorial Day weekend, how could a long weekend not be great?  Matt’s parents were here for part of the weekend and then we had a BBQ at our friend’s on Memorial Day.  Out contributions were both past recipes from here, and both were hits so if you haven’t made the Light Dessert Or Blackberry Salad yet, you should.  We’re actually borderline obsessed with the blackberry salad and have made it about 4 times since trying it 2-3 weeks ago.  It’s that good.

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Oh and I updated the week 44 post to include a picture of the Grilled Chicken with pineapple avocado salad (we made it again this week), so check that out too!

So we did a couple new recipes two weeks ago, but I still need to translate the one for the Tarte Aux Fruits so you get one recipe and pictures of the tarte.  The chicken is pretty basic.  The avocado sauce was nice to do something different with grilled chicken.  We’ll definitely make it again, it was too easy not to!  The tarte was a little more involved, but amazing, as I remember it being.  It was recipe from high school French class, I still have my recipe packet from our cooking unit.  Thus the need for translation.

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

Blackened Chicken:

  • 4 — 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 1 Tbsp blackened seasoning (we used Dinosaur BBQ Foreplay Rub)
  • 2 Tbsp green onions, finely sliced

Avocado Cream Sauce:

  • ⅓ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ avocado, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ReaLemon® Juice
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Season the pounded chicken with seasoning.
  2. Lightly coat a large frying or grill pan with nonstick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, cook chicken breasts for 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the Avocado Cream Sauce by blending Greek yogurt, avocado, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt in a food processor.
  4. To serve, place about 2 Tbsp of Avocado Cream Sauce and ½ Tbsp green onions on top of each chicken breast.

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Tarte Aux Fruits

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp butter, cold
  • 1 Tbsp Crisco
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • ¼ cup cold water

Ingredients – Cream:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup flour

To Make the Crust:

  1. Add flour, salt, sugar, butter, and Crisco to a food processor. Mix for 10 seconds, until it forms small pieces.
  2. Restart the food processor and quickly add ¼ cup cold water while the food processor is running
  3. Stop the food processor when the crust has formed one ball. If the crust is too moist, add flour.  If it’s too crumbly, add water.
  4. Wrap the ball in saran wrap and refridgerate for 1 hour. Keeps for 1-2 days in the refrigerator, or 1 month in the freezer.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 and roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Place the crust in a 9” quiche dish and make sure it’s up on the sides.  Cut off any excess crust.
  6. With a fork, poke tiny holes in the crust, on the bottom and sides.
  7. Butter (or spray with pam) a piece of parchment paper and place the buttered side down on the crust. Top with rice, or dried beans, or something to weigh down the paper.
  8. Cook for 01 minutes with the weight in the crust, the remove the paper and weights and cook another 5 minutes, or until crust is golden.

To Make the Cream:

  1. Heat the milk in a microwave for 1-2 minutes on medium heat.
  2. In a food processor or mixer, mix the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar, until dissolved. While the machine is running, add 1/3 cup flour and mix for 20 seconds, then add 1 cup milk while still running.
  3. Pour liuid into a microwave safe bowl. Cook in the microwave on medium heat for 2 minutes, take out and mix, cook another 2 minutes.  Once the cream is almost thickened, cook 1 more minutes (this should take 5-7 minutes or more).  You can also do this on a stovetop, but mix constantly and make sure it does not burn!
  4. Add 1 Tbsp butter and 2 tsp vanilla and mix the cream. Cover with plastic wrap so that it is touching the top of the cream in the bowl (to avoid a skin form forming), and refrigerate until cold.
  5. When ready, add cream to tarte crust and stop with desired fruit toppings.

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Week 44 – Baked Sweet Potatoes w/ Broccoli and White Sauce, Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Avocado Salsa, and Blackberry Chèvre Salad

Weekends are the best.  My taking Fridays off really helps too – get cleaning and errands done Thursday night/ Friday morning and then have the rest of the days for studying, hanging out, and cooking!

We got Fresh Stop this week, Matt picked it up while I was in class and there’s so much goodness in this month’s share.  We used the spring mix in our salad recipe for the week, and we remade the Garlic Butter Asparagus Pasta with the asparagus from our share.  That recipe is not only really good, but pretty quick too!

We have a few solid recipes this week – Matt was not the biggest fan of the sweet potato one, but that’s because he doesn’t like cooked broccoli (woops!).  When I was in Portland my friend Kaitlyn made it for dinner one night and I tried to recreate it this week.  I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but I could eat this recipe over and over again!  The Grilled Chicken was delicious and pretty, but I forgot to take a picture of it because we were at a friend’s house and in real life people don’t have to snap a picture of every meal before eating it 🙂  I’ll add a picture next time we make it (because there will definitely be a next time).  And the salad, ahhhhh SO stinking delicious, I can’t wait until tomorrow when we eat the rest of it!

Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Avocado Salsa (recipe from here)

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

For Salsa:

  • 2 cups diced pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

For Chicken:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts, pound to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. For the salsa: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Reserve.
  2. For the chicken: Brush the chicken on both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°, about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Remove chicken and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Plate the chicken and top with desired amount of salsa.

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Blackberry Chèvre Salad  (recipe from here)

Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 6 oz. fresh blackberries, rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the spiced nuts:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (if you have it, we didn’t so we skipped it)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

To assemble:

  • Mixed salad greens
  • 2 oz. honey goat cheese
  • About 6 oz. fresh blackberries
  • Thinly sliced vidalia onion

Directions:

  1. To make the dressing, place the berries in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out as much fruit puree as possible while removing the seeds.  In a liquid measuring cup or jar, combine the blackberry puree with the vinegar, honey, and olive oil.  Whisk vigorously until the mixture is well blended and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill until ready to use.
  2. To make the spiced nuts, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow the mixture to heat for about 1 minute, then stir in the chopped nuts.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. To serve, plate portions of salad greens on salad plates. Top with crumbled goat cheese, fresh blackberries, vidalia onion and the spiced nuts as desired.  Drizzle lightly with the blackberry vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.

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Baked Sweet Potatoes w/ Broccoli and White Sauce

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 ½ cups Mexican cheese blend (seasoned)
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

  1. Roast the sweet potatoes – Heat oven to 400° F. Pierce each sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Make a slit in the top of each sweet potato.
  2. Cook the Broccoli – saute in a pan with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. About 5 minutes, until bright green and slightly cooked.
  3. Make the sauce – In a food processor, mix the cheese, white beans, and enough water to get the sauce to your desired consistency.
  4. Plate the dish – Slice a sweet potato in half and slightly smash before topping with broccoli and sauce. Enjoy!

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Week 43 – Creamy Asparagus Rigatoni w/ Romaine Salad

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!  We had another good week and kept the cooking going.  Studying is in full swing, and my capstone class for the CFP has started.  I went to Portland Wed-Fri of this week for a funeral.  It was a quick trip but it was good to see my friend Andrea and to spend some time in such a beautiful city.  On Thursday I went on a hike, if you’re ever in Portland I highly recommend this one.  It was about 5 miles total and a perfect start to my day.  Here are a few pictures from the trip:

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Other exciting things this week – Our wedding album came!! It’s beautiful and if you ask to see it next time you’re at our apartment I’d be thrilled to show it off.  We enjoyed another baseball game on Saturday with some of our friends from church.  It was perfect weather!  And my second ever fabletics order came.  If you’ve never heard of it you should check it out.  Or maybe you’ve seen the ads on facebook and ignored them.  The first outfit is totally worth it, it’s $25 for a two piece outfit, can’t beat it!  Then it subscribes you to the outfits monthly so you just have to remember to log on and skip your month (similar to blue apron’s auto-subscription).  I got the discounted first outfit a couple months ago, skipped a month or two, and then ordered another outfit this month.  The clothes are definitely quality stuff, and so much better prices than lululemon or athleta or other companies that are selling similar clothing.  if you want to try it out, use my referral code here!

This week’s recipe was another asparagus one.  It was quite delicious and pretty quick.  A solid keeper for a good weeknight dinner.  This is another Blue Apron recipe.  They now make family meal plans that serve 4, pricing is a little different and Matt and I will probably never order that option, but I still always look at the recipes and see which ones we’d want to make on our own.  And it’s perfect because there’s plenty of leftovers!

Creamy Asparagus Rigatoni w/ Romaine Salad (recipe from here)

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Rigatoni (or other) Pasta
  • ¾ Cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 Ounces Spinach
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus
  • 1 English Cucumber
  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Shallot
  • ½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Prepare the ingredients: Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus; cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; separate the leaves. Thinly slice the cucumber into rounds. Juice the lemons, separately. Peel and mince the shallot to get 2 tablespoons of minced shallot.
  2. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine the minced shallot and the juice of 1 lemon; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add half the Parmesan cheese to the shallot-lemon juice mixture. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined; season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the dressing seems thick, slowly whisk in up to 1 tablespoon of water.) Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta: Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 13 to 15 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water, thoroughly drain the cooked pasta. Set the pasta aside in a warm place.
  4. Cook the asparagus: In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic and asparagus. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and the asparagus is bright green.
  5. Finish the pasta: To the pan of asparagus, add the cooked pasta, spinach, ricotta cheese, remaining Parmesan cheese, the juice of the remaining lemon wedges and ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pasta is thoroughly coated and the liquid is slightly reduced in volume. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish.
  6. Make the salad & serve your dish:  In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cucumber and enough of the dressing to coat the salad (you may have extra dressing); toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve the finished pasta with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

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Week 42 – Garlic Butter Asparagus Pasta and Strawberry, Spinach & Cashew Salad

Ahhh such a perfect weekend!  Great weather, great company, and such a beautiful and refreshing time in our beautiful city!  I’m back to my between busy seasons trend of not working on Fridays so Friday I took the day to clean, go to a barre class, run some errands, and study a bit.  My parents drove down for the weekend and got here in the afternoon.  We went to Pasta Mia for dinner on Friday night, one of my absolute FAVORITES in DC.  If you go to DC and want Italian, look this place up.  Saturday was my mom’s birthday and we had a full day!  We went to Great Falls Park in the morning and hike through some of the trails.  The weather could not have been more perfect.  And it’s really just beautiful up there, we bought an annual pass to the park so we’ll definitely be going back several more times to get our money’s worth.  After the ark we took a break for lunch and then headed to Alexandria for the afternoon.  We picked up some Sugar Shack donuts and then headed into Old Town Alexandria for some window shopping and walking around.  For dinner we went to the Old Ebbitt and then walked around the monuments a bit, a very full, wonderful and tiring day!

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My parents headed back to NY Sunday morning and Matt and I headed to church.  I was with the preschoolers teaching Sunday School, always a fun time!  After church some friends came over and we had lunch on the balcony and then walked over to the tulips by the Netherlands Carillon in a nearby park, right by the Marine Corps Memorial.  A perfect day for a walk to the park, I can’t get enough of this weather!  Matt and I joined a wine club at a nearby wine store so we went to pick up our May bottles after our friends went home.  I’m excited to try different wines with this club, 2 specially picked bottles per month.

We made both of our new recipes tonight and boy are these keepers!  I modified the salad from the original recipe and really only followed the proportions when making the dressing, everything else I kind of just chopped up and threw in.  This was some good stuff.  Matt made the orzo while I studied, said it was really easy and that he added more parm than the recipe says so it’d be better (and it was quite perfect) Sat on the balcony and ate these with a glass of one of the wine club picks, such a nice evening to end a great weekend.  Life is great these days.

Strawberry, Spinach & Cashew Salad (Recipe from here)

Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper

Salad:

  • One package (10 oz) fresh spinach, chopped (about 10 cups of torn leaves)
  • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries (cleaned and hulled)
  • 1 cup peaches, finely chopped (we used mangoes since peaches aren’t quite in season yet)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cashews

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, and whisk together well. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can serve the dressing immediately or you can cover it and chill for an hour.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients, except the cashew nuts. Add the dressing to the salad and toss. Sprinkle cashew nuts on top of the salad.

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Garlic Butter Asparagus Pasta (Recipe from here)

Makes: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • 1-pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼-cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Shredded parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Prepare orzo according to the directions on the package.
  2. Add the asparagus tips to the orzo the last 2-minutes of cooking.
  3. Remove from heat and drain.
  4. In the meantime prepare the garlic-butter sauce:
    1. Add butter to a skillet and melt over medium heat.
    2. Stir in garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring very frequently. Do not burn the garlic.
  5. Add orzo and asparagus to the skillet; stir in the cheese, milk, parsley, salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for 1 minute, or until heated through.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.

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Weeks 40 & 41 – Lemony Artichoke White Bean Crostini; Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes

Ah keeping up with this has been so hard!  Life after tax season is great!  But once the work craziness stops, I seem to find ways to fill that time with tons of other things (mainly sleeping and having a social life).  I took the rest of the week of tax day off to get my life back in order (thoroughly cleaned the apartment, haircut, reward mani, worked out..) and then the next week i was travelling for work a couple of days.  I was sent to the quaint little town of Pulaski, TN.  It was actually pretty cute, I have a couple pictures from the trip:

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The recipes!  The weekend after tax day we were invited to a cocktail party which I volunteered to bring an appetizer to.  Luckily this little crostini recipe was new on one of the blogs I regularly check.  It was delicious!  A little something different, but I also made some bruschetta in case folks weren’t as adventurous as I wanted them to be.  Both were well received.

For dinner the following week we made a blue apron meal – Swedish meatballs and mashed Potatoes.  Part of this was due to the fact that we picked up fresh stop (it’s back for the summer!) the weekend before and I needed something to use the potatoes in.  And the other part is because Swedish meatballs are just delicious.  Definitely worth it and a Blue Apron recipe that’s easy enough to replicate on your own (without the meal delivery).  Matt’s not a huge fan of kale (if you haven’t already picked up on that…) so we sauteed some green beans with onions, garlic and salt and pepper for an added veggie.

We loved both recipes, hope you do too!

Lemony Artichoke White Bean Crostini with Shaved Parmesan (recipe from here)

Makes: 10+ servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup finely grated parmesan, plus more shaved
  • 1 cup chopped artichoke hearts, chopped (about 1 14 oz. can)
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 baguette, sliced diagonally about ½-inch thick
  • 1 clove garlic, halved lengthwise

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, parsley, red pepper flakes, parmesan, artichoke hearts and beans. Mix gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside to let the flavors meld.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F. Lay the baguette slices out on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake until the crostini are just browned and crisp, about 7-10 minutes.
  4. Once removed from the oven, rub the browned side of each baguette slice with the cut half of the garlic clove.
  5. Top each piece of bread with a spoonful of the bean-artichoke mixture and garnish with additional shaved parmesan, if desired. Serve.

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 Swedish Meatballs & Creamy Mashed Potatoes (recipe from here)

Makes: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Bunch Chives
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 10 Ounces Ground Pork
  • 2 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Teaspoon Swedish Spice Blend (1/3 tsp each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon)
  • 3 Tablespoons Beef Demi-Glace
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Cup Low-Fat Milk

Directions:

  1. Prepare the ingredients: Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Mince the chives. Peel and medium dice the potatoes. Peel and mince the shallot to get 2 tablespoons of minced shallot.
  2. Make the mashed potatoes: Once the pot of water is boiling, add the potatoes. Cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Add the butter and half of the milk (save the rest for the meatball sauce). Mash the potatoes until they reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and set aside in a warm place.
  3. Form the meatballs: Combine the ground pork, breadcrumbs, shallot, and Swedish spice blend; season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Roll the mixture into 16-18 small meatballs (slightly smaller than golf ball-sized).
  4. Start the meatballs: In a mediumpan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally to brown them on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Finish the meatballs and make the sauce: Add the flour to the pan of meatballs and cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the flour is lightly toasted. Add the beef demi-glace, remaining milk and ½ cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Plate your dish: To plate your dish, divide the meatballs and sauce, and mashed potatoes between 2 dishes. Garnish with the chives and Enjoy!

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